How to Juggle it All – Tips from an Overachiever

One day in August, I showed up early to apply for graduation (and use the printer and fax machine at work). I'd just come from an early morning group meeting with my peers. The night before, I left work on time to rush off to go to my side hustle - babysitting.

My coworker looked at my quizzically and asked me how I do it. How did I work, go to school, babysit, blog, work online (she doesn't know about my blogs), and have time to breathe? Oh, yeah, and never mind keeping that apartment clean, my relationship with the boy healthy, and having friends.

True, sometimes I'm exhausted; those days when I get up at 5:30 AM and didn't even get home until 12:30 PM after work, babysitting, and class could really throw me for a loop.

Sometimes my brain wants to party all night when my body wants to sleep, and my adrenaline from the day, week, or month's events leaves me tossing and turning in bed instead of catching those much needed Zzzz's after a crazy day.

And sometimes, I just want to give it all up. Forget about education, quit my job, sell my blog, drop of the map, curl up in a ball and merely exist.

But that's just a fantasy that I have when I'm having a bad day. And then my ambition and enthusiasm for life kicks into overdrive and you can find me doing homework on my lunch break, writing paragraphs of posts on my coffee break, Tweeting and catching up while wrangling a toddler and a baby into bed, and looking for fun post ideas while waiting in line at the grocery store on my phone.

Here are some tips as to how I really do it:

Get Good at Time Management

Poor time management is what really frazzles us. If you can't manage your time, things are going to slip to the wayside. Time management skills can help you juggle a lot of things, and do well at them.

My favorite time management tip is to steal time from activities that are otherwise fruitless.

When you are driving in your car, during your morning commute, that is some serious time wasted. What else could you be doing? Maintaining your relationships by calling your friends and catching up? Getting some chores done by making those phone calls you've been avoiding? Or even just relaxing, putting on an audio book and enjoying your time off nothingness?

Fill up that empty, useless space with something that can either be done, or will help you relax.

Take "You" Time

What I've learned the most throughout this, is that "you" time, or time that you spend doing things that you enjoy and love to do, is extremely important when you are balancing and juggling many different things.

"You" time is what really keeps you from burning out. Whether it's taking an extra long shower or settling down with a book and some tea, every day must be injected with some sort of pleasurable activity for yourself. Otherwise, it will all build up, you'll go crazy, quit your job, sell your blog, drop out of school, and curl up in a ball and just exist for awhile.

Find Times When You Have The Most Energy

I'm very energetic in the mornings - particularly on weekends. This is when I get most of my work done. Blog posts, school assignments, chores, work prep, errands, exercise, you name it, I do it on weekend mornings. This leaves my weekday evenings for the things that I either absolutely have to do on weekday evenings, or relaxing, reflecting, and rehashing my day.

Trying to force myself to do things when I have no energy with which to do them is pointless. This makes me frustrated and angry and feel hopeless, so I try to harness my energy when I have it.

Don't Wallow in Self Pity

Yes, poor you, you are so busy. Get over it. Everyone's busy. You maybe be "busier" than your average friend, but you put yourself in that position. I made this blog myself. I decided to move out in my first year of university, thereby dictating that I needed to work full-time to pay for tuition and living expenses. I decided to get my degree. I decided to take on a side hustle.

So I really don't have a right to complain.

If you are constantly thinking about how you "deserve" a break, you need to stop. This is just making you less productive. When you earn a break, you'll get a break. For now, just keep plugging away at it.

Understand That Your Limit Differs From Others

If you are a parent, that automatically sucks a HUGE amount of time from your schedule. Same goes for some other lifestyles (students, etc).

Recognize that the person over there who you may think does it ALL, has a different life.

They may not have kids. Sure, you COULD be doing yoga and taking a course and running an online business, but at what cost? Putting your kids with a babysitter for most of (what was supposed to be) their time with you?

Don't compare your life with another person's. It won't get you very far.

Also recognize that you are not a machine. Some people do better under pressure than you might. If you find yourself crumbling under the pressure, let something go. Life is too short to let it all pile on.

 

How do you balance work, projects, family, health, and life? Are you an overachiever?

37 thoughts on “How to Juggle it All – Tips from an Overachiever

  1. Amy

    I think these are some great tips. "If you find yourself crumbling under the pressure, let something go" this stood out to me most, after four years I realized I needed to change a shift in my side hustle to protect my sanity. I get a lot of these types of comments as well, people tend to think I'm super woman.. in reality I'm just really good at time management. Google calendar is my friend, it helps keep my life in order. Everything is color coded and available from any machine as well as my phone.

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  2. Good time management really is key to getting everything done. So is not being a baby:)

    Like Michelle, I love to make lists. I also love the feeling of crossing them off...so much so that I sometimes put things on the list that I've already done that day just so that I can cross it off:)

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  3. Great tips! We use many of them. I've learned VERY quickly in running my own business that time management is your best friend. Without it, you're destined to have things fall through the cracks and get less done. Taking time for yourself is vital too, as it can help a ton without protecting against total burnout.

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  4. K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks!

    I agree with "You" time being something that needs to be factored in. If you don't take time to recharge you won't be able to juggle all the balls in the air for very long. I make sure to pamper myself in order to wind down and tune out from the world and my responsibilities for a little while.

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  5. I think it's like you said, I drop the activities that mean less. One thing that I can get caught up in is my favorite TV shows. But now with a DVR I've gotten better and just saving it till I have a lot more time on the weekend. It's a double positive whammy because it keeps me entertained on the weekend instead of going out and spending money. I do need to work on getting away from my computer more though. I'm glad I have an exercise routine, but sitting all day at my computer is not good for my neck and back. I'm seriously considering a standup work station in my future. I digress...

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  6. When I worked in industry, i always gave assignments/projects to the busiest employees because they knew how to get it done. Handling a lot at once is not unique, but most people do not test their limits. It requires some additional skills.

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  7. I definitely agree with making the most of "useless time". For example, if I'm waiting for something in the microwave, I might do a micro-task, like putting away a few dishes. While I'm brushing my teeth in the morning, I pull out my lunch and fruit from the fridge. Even if we're watching TV, Brian and I might do things like blog during commercial breaks or iron clothes while watching.

    I try to avoid those dead moments where you're just sitting and idling for no apparent reason. I still take time to relax, don't get me wrong but I don't do nothing as a default.

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  8. CorianneM

    I think the summary of this post could be: "just do it already!" Sometimes I feel people spend too much time thinking, wondering, dreaming of how things could be... instead of actually doing sth about it.

    I recently started cycling to uni. It's 4.7 kilometers one way, 20 minutes or so. That's almost 9.5 kilometers everyday, 40 minutes in total of exercise. Because I tend to go quite quickly, except that one bridge I have to cross.. it's a bit too steep!

    In comparison: the metro would take about 20 minutes, and then an extra 10 minutes walk to uni. Public transport is free for me as a student, so saving money isn't really an issue here, but cycling is both quicker and a good workout.

    I have to be at uni at least 4 days a week. So that would already be 37.6km if I would go 4 days out of 4; and 28.2km if I would take the bike 3 days out of 4. Because I'm not really a big fan of cycling in the rain to be honest, or a storm!

    But all in all, it's a great way of combining a commute and exercising :)

    Reply
  9. Some great tips and time management is what helps me make it through. I've had people ask me how I do it all and it really boils down to planning and making the time for each activity. Sometimes I want to do more but realize I need to have a life too. Sometimes we can get so caught up we forget about us. Cheers Mr.CBB

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  10. I'm feeling a lot of burn out right now and I do way less than you =\ thanks for the tips. I've found I'm better at doing things in the morning too, which is why I try to get up early. However, I find my best writing is done at night, particularly when I've already gone to bed so I usually have to get up =( lol

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  11. Learning how to say no and be clear with people the first time.

    Also - double up your fun experiences! Blogging started sucking into my evening reading time, so I switched from podcasts to audiobooks on my runs. Now I love running even more and still "read" about a book a week.

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  12. I love this post! I was always go-go-go in school, and now that I'm done school, I've filled my time with other things, side hustles, running, a dog, and my blog. I volunteered for all of this, and I love it - but it does get stressful sometimes. Thanks for the reminder that I asked for all of this.

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  16. Great tips. I'm a total multi-tasker and do a million things at once. It drive my husband nuts when I get a burst of energy at like 10pm and decide the floors need to be washed or whatever. I actually stopped driving to work, sold my car for public transit to get more done. Although it takes about 20mins longer to get to work, I can blog/make phone calls or God forbid, shut my brain off if I want to!

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  17. Awesome post Daisy. This has been something I have been trying to perfect for a while. Finding the balance for my husband and I has been challenging because we are different people. His limit is less than mine when it comes to energy and stuff and it frustrates me. I am getting better and trying to find a way to make both work for us. It is still a work in progress. Us overachievers- I think we are cursed.

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  20. Tahnya Kristina

    I am famous for taking on too much and I try to be the best at everything but sometimes I just need time off. This week I went to bed at 8 pm both Monday and Tuesday becuase I was so tired from working so much. However this is my choice and I am not complaining, just sometimes I get tired. Great post Daisy.

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  21. These are so helpful! I find that poor time management is a huge one for most people; they overestimate the amount of things they can get done in X amount of time, it ends up being an unrealistic goal and they feel defeated and mad at themselves by the end of the day.

    MarieG LifeSimplyBalanced.com

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  25. I'm a multi tasker, list maker, prioritizer, etc. I too, am a morning, well maybe more mid-morning person. However, I will set my alarm to wake up early on weekends sometimes to do laundry or groceries, because I know it won't be as busy. And then I reward myself with a brief nap in the afternoon. :)

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